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A Message from Commissioner Dorantes...

Commissioner Dorantes in an orange shirt with a brown cardiganAfter 2020, this year "Back to School" takes on a whole new meaning. 

We are also approaching the end of a moratorium in effect that kept young people from aging out of DCF care during the pandemic.  We are working very hard to adjust our language and actions that help Transitional Aged Youth (TAY) successfully age INTO young adulthood.  

In this edition of the Spotlight on What's Right, read about the specific work of the DCF Transitioning Youth for Success Division under the leadership of Dr Linda Dixon. 

Celebrating those in care who are continuing academic work through higher education or solidifying vocational training interest, it's our responsibility to make sure they are learning the basics of adulting as they are finding their way. 

That brings us to a Spotlight story about Betty, who came to the United States at age fifteen with only a 3rd grade education. Firmly planted with kinship foster parents, Betty just graduated from high school and her goal is to become a nurse. The anchor of unconditional love, support and guidance is illustrated beautifully in this relationship.Graphic of three people sitting around a table eating; one is wearing headphones

Join my 'proud-parent' excitement in reading the list of schools our kids are set to make their mark in all across the country! 

We all know, the journey through post-secondary education can also be very humbling. Only 3-7% of youth in foster care will graduate college compared to 30% of all Americans.

Sun Scholars Logo, a green hand holding a small leaf with a graduation cap inside an orange and yellow sunOne of the 'safety nets' of security is offered by Sun Scholars. The excellent work of Sun's Executive Director, Chris Scott, to support youth who are in, or who have been in foster care, while they are attending college is highlighted in this edition. During last year's program, the 26 students achieved a 3.03 grade point average and all advanced toward graduation!  What's unique about the staff of Sun Scholars?  You'll have to read to find out! 

Young people have so many strengths.  V.I.T.A.L. to their success is a newly designed practice model specific to TAY. The approach is abbreviated V.I.T.A.L. to focus our attention on:

    Web showing types of support: help, assistance, guidance, competence, solution, direction, advice, and information
  • Voice and Choice
  • Innovation
  • Thorough and Accountable actions
  • Authentic Youth Engagement
  • Life Launch 

Read the VITAL summary and the critical work underway to ensure that all youth have relationships, supports, and opportunities to thrive as they launch into adulthood. 

Image of several DCF staff participating in the RiMaConn Relay on August 28th.  Text reads "3 States/18 legs/95 miles"Speaking of the Transitional Youth for Success, pictured here completing the 85-mile RiMaConn relay is one of the division's Program Directors Latosha Johnson who, with DCF colleagues Tomas Villanueva (Middletown), Tracey Johnson (New Britain), and Janet Feliciano (Hartford) are ready to lace up for their next race along with their supporters, Aurora Contrino and Felix Fernandez (New Britain).  

Let us know what you are doing to stay active during these trying times…you never know who you'll see cheering you on at the finish line!

Best of luck to all of you and your families starting all levels of this new school year! 

-Commissioner Dorantes